The Little Zen Companion

The Little Zen Companion

by David Schiller


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The Little Zen Companion by David Schiller

While it seeks neither to define Zen nor answer its most famous koan (a riddle unanswerable by conventional thinking, in this case the sound of one hand clapping), this bestselling little book with 437,000 copies in print possesses a maverick Zen spirit that points to a different way of looking at the world.

With each page featuring a quote, phrase, story, koan, haiku, or poem, Zen Companion combines the feeling and format of a meditation book with 2,500 years of wisdom-from Lao-tzu and Groucho Marx, William Carlos Williams and The Little Prince, D. T. Suzuki and Walker Percy, the Buddha and the Bible, Einstein and Gertrude Stein. It's a celebration of intuition: "If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark"-St. John the Cross. Individuality: "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."-Basho. Uncomplicated nature: "Among twenty snowy mountains/The only moving thing/Was the eye of the blackbird."-Wallace Stevens. Childlike spontaneity: "Goodnight stars. Goodnight air."-Margaret Wise Brown. Irreverent paradox: "Wakuan complained when he saw a picture of bearded Bodhidharma: 'Why hasn't that fellow a beard?'" And above all, the simple pleasure of life lived in the moment. "Chop wood, carry water."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781563054679
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/28/1994
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 249,294
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 4.25(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Schiller is an author of eclectic interests whose books include The Little Zen Companion, The Little Book of Prayers, and Guitars, among others. His books and calendars have more than 2 million copies in print. He lives in New York.

Read an Excerpt

This book doesn't presume to define Zen, but instead to offer a taste of Zen's way of looking at the world: where the best moment is now, where things

  • are
  • what they seem to be, where we see with the refreshing directness of a child and not through eyes grown stale from routine. The sayings, poems, parables, stories and other words that follow have been chosen for their power to suggest, and also for the surprising pleasures of their language. Some are serious, some irreverent, some beautifully evocative. Some might be puzzling—when words are used not to communicate an idea, but as tools to plant a wordless truth, some pretty strange things can happen. (from the author's introduction)

    Excerpted from The Little Zen Companion. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.

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    Little Zen Companion 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Fun and intriguing book. A great pocket buddy for everyday life.
    anne_jindra More than 1 year ago
    Like a word a day- it's 350 japanese koans to meditate on (many from western thinkers). Or you could play the Little Zen Companion game and discuss them with others(I've done it, and now I can achieve mu shin :P) Even more succinct than Nietzsche, the Companion offers short clips that are sometimes "...puzzling- when words are not used to communicate an idea, but as tools to plant a wordless truth," As it says "Sometimes strange things can happen." I tried it with a math friend of mine- showing her "Water to pure has no fish." I took that to mean that ideas crashed when they were introduced to people, much to their creator's dismay, because there was no filter in the real world. But that the ideas themselves had no intrinsic value, they had worth due to the people they were shared with. Adaptation was incredibly important. She said "I'll be sure to never put fish into distilled water." End of story. I laughed. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few." is the first quote in the book. Some of my favorite memories are of a friend's room, she'd print out quotes and hang them on the wall. We always had something to talk about. It's not a coffee table book, but I keep it there. Tatianna Anne Jindra On YouTube BadFantasyRx
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago